Fundamental Basics of The Mongolian Language
Taught by a Mongolian world traveller
Origins of The Mongolian Language
Even to this day, it still puzzles a lot of lingusts on the origin of the Mongolian language, because there are many theories but the most popular one is the Altaic language theory, where Mongolian is considered a branch of the Altaic language family which includes, Japanese, Korean, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Turkish, and Uzbek, but it still hotly debated and some even claim to disprove the theory, but there is no denying the similarity between those languages and some commonality between them.
People wrongly assume Mongolian is similar to Russian or Chinese, in some cases even mention how Mongolian sounds very similar to Russian, but it has no commonality with those two languages and is uniquely different from them. The Mongolian language does borrow a lot of loan words from the Chinese and the Russians however, mostly being noun words to identify an object.
Although Mongolians previously used the Traditional Script, since gaining its independence, for political and economical reasons, Mongolians adopted the Cyrillic alphabet and still use it to this day.
Should You Learn Mongolian?
People have different reasons for learning a new language. Maybe some of you are learning Mongolian for fun, while some others are going to be studying or working in Mongolia, either way, whether you should learn Mongolian language will depend on your goals.
While it does not hurt to be able to speak different languages, sometimes you will have to consider how long it will take you to master the language and what benefits you will gain from learning the language. So let’s get into some reasons.
Studying For Fun
If you have a lot of time on your hands and are looking to curb your bordedom, then why not? Some people just like to learn new languages for reasons that are unexplainable, but be mindful about how much time you actually have to study it and whether you can afford to spend all that time into a language that does not have any practical application in your life. So this is up to you.
Working or Studying in Mongolia
If you will be working or studying, then it is essential you at least know the alphabet and the basic phrases to get by. While you don’t necessarily have to become a master and fluent in the language, speaking well enough to mix and mingle with the locals will make your experience more enjoyable and enriching.
Travelling to Mongolia
You could get by with English in Mongolia, but it is recommended that you learn the Cyrillic alphabet just so you know where to go and whether you are in the right place.
If you want to have a more immersing experience and get lost in the culture, then you have the option to learn the language more in depth. By doing so, you will have more interesting conversations and experiences that you can look back to once you are done with your travel journey.
Benefits of Learning Mongolian
Mongolian might not seem like one of the languages that make practical sense to study and learn, but there is more to it. It’s a language that is growing and in the future, more and more people will start to speak Mongolian as the Mongolian population increases and as Mongolia develops economically.
Economically, Mongolia is full of opportunities and is considered as one of the countries that have immense potential to grow and was the fastest growing economy during early 2010s. It could come in handy in business deals and negotations, because Mongolians are proud of their culture, their language, and their history, so it is considered flattering to have foreigners adopt certain Mongolian customs.
On a less practical note, it’s such an exotic language to learn and is unique different from many languages around the world. It mixes harsh with very soft and soothing sounds, so the language blends the best of both worlds. A lot of people find the Mongolian language pleasing and soothing to the ears.
How Difficult is Mongolian?
While Mongolian is not the most difficult language on the planet, it is one of the harder languages.
People mostly seem to have problem with the pronunciation of some words that are guttural and tongue twisting. Mongolian words can mean different things based on how long you hold the vowel and subtle tonal differences.
How Long Does Learning Mongolian Take?
Learning the basics of the language will take 2-3 months.You will be able to learn the alphabet and some phrases to get you by the country. However, depending on how serious you are, it could be shorter or longer.
If you want to become fluent it will take a few years to speak fluently with consistent practices, perhaps 3-5 years depending on the learner. But becoming a natural as if you could speak like a native or even advanced to a philosopher level will take a lifelong devotion to the language.
How To Learn Mongolian Easily?
While Mongolian is one of the harder languages to learn it does not mean you can’t make it easier for yourself and make the process simpler. Within my eBook, I lay out the basic fundamentals for you to build on.
First and foremost, learning the alphabet is the most important aspect. Once you learn the alphabet, you can start learning basic conjugations and then past present tenses while building your vocabular base.
How Can I Start Learning Mongolian?
While I recommend picking up my eBook to get the basic understanding of the language in full detail, you can go on Wikipedia to learn the alphabet and my Youtube videos to get some understanding of the language.
Or subscribe on our newsletter to get a free intro course that will give you a better idea of what the language is about.
Free Intro Lesson
While Mongolians used to use the traditional script for writing, today the official writing system in Mongolia
is the Mongolian Cyrillic. It’s similar to Russian Cyrillic, but with 2 additional letters.
Vowels: А а, И и, О о , Ө ө, У у, Ү ү, Я я, Ю ю, Е е, Ё ё, Й й, Ы ы, Э э
Consonants: Б б, В в, Г г, Д д, Ж ж, З з, К к, Л л, М м, Н н, П п, Р р, С с, Т т, Х х, Ц ц, Ч ч, Ш ш, Щ щ
А а – Pronounced like Aahh
Б б – Pronounced like Behh
В в – Pronounced like Vehh
Г г – Pronounced like Gehh
Д д – Pronounced like Dehh
Е е – Pronounced like Yeh
Ё ё – Pronounced like Yoh
Ж ж – Pronounced like Jeh
З з – Pronounced like Zeh
И и – Pronounced like Ee
Й й – Pronounced like Ee
К к – Pronounced like Khah
Л л – Pronounced like ILL
М м – Pronounced like Imm
Н н – Pronounced like Inn
О о – Pronounced like Ohh
Ө ө – Pronounced like Uhh
П п – Pronounced like Peh
Р р – Pronounced like Irr with rolling R
С с – Pronounced like Isse
Т т – Pronounced like Teh
У у – Pronounced like Uh
Ү ү – Pronounced like Oo
Ф ф – Pronounced like Fah & Feh
Х х – – Pronounced like Hah, Heh
Ц ц – Pronounced like Tse
Ч ч – Pronounced like Che
Ш ш – Pronounced like Ish
Щ щ – Pronounced like Ishtse
ъ – It’s a vowel hardener, no sound
ь – It’s a vowel softener, no sound
Ы ы – Pronounced like Ee
Э э – Pronounced like Eh
Ю ю – Pronounced like Yu
Я я – Pronounced like Ya
Counting in Mongolian
0. Teg – Тэг
1. Neg – Нэг
2. Hoyor – Хоёр
3. Gurav – Гурав
4. Duruv – Дөрөв
5. Tav – Тав
6. Zurga – Зургаа
7. Dolo – Долоо
8. Nayim – Найм
9. Yus – Ес
10. Arav – Арав
11. Arvan Neg – Арван нэг
12. Arvan Hoyor – Арван хоёр
13. Arvan Gurav – Арван гурав
14. Arvan Duruv – Арван дөрөв
15. Arvan Tav – Арван тав
16. Arvan Zurga – Арван зургаа
17. Arvan Dolo – Арван долоо
18. Arvan Nayim – Арван найм
19. Arvan Yus – Арван ес
20. Hori – Хорь
21. Horin Neg – Хорин нэг
22. Horin Hoyor – Хорин хоёр
23. Horin Gurav – Хорин гурав
24. Horin Duruv – Хорин дөрөв
25. Horin Tav – Хорин тав
26. Horin Zurga – Хорин гурав
27. Horin Dolo – Хорин долоо
28. Horin Nayim – Хорин найм
29. Horin Yus – Хорин ес
30. Guchi – Гуч
40. Duchi – Дөч
50. Tavi – Тавь
60. Jar – Жар
70. Dal – Дал
80. Naya – Ная
90. Yer – Ер
100. Zu – Зуу
Numbers: Hundreds to Thousands
101. Zun Neg – Зуун нэг
102. Zun Hoyor – Зуун хоёр
111. Zun Arvan Neg – Зуун арван нэг
122. Zun Horin Hoyor – Зуун арван хоёр
200. Hoyor Zu – Хоёр зуу
300. Gurvan Zu – Гурван зуу
400. Durvun Zu – Дөрвөн зуу
500. Tavan Zu – Таван зуу
600. Zurgan Zu – Зургаан зуу
700. Dolon Zu – Долоон зуу
800. Naiman Zu – Найман зуу
900. Yusun Zu – Есөн зуу
1000. Myanga – Мянга
1001. Myanga Neg – Мянга нэг
1011. Myanga Arvan Neg – Мянга арван нэг
1111. Myanga Zun Arvan Neg – Мянга зуун арван нэг
2000. Hoyor Myanga – Хоёр мянга
3000. Gurvan Myanga – Гурван мянга
4000. Durvun Myanga – Дөрвөн мянга
5000. Tavan Myanga – Таван мянга
6000. Zurgan Myanga – Зургаан мянга
7000. Dolon Myanga – Долоон мянга
8000. Naiman Myanga – Найман мянга
9000. Yusun Myanga – Есөн мянга
10,000. Arvan Myanga – Арван мянга
100,000. Zun Myanga – Зуун мянга
Note: If you noticed, once you pass Hoyor (two), N gets added in for numbers bigger than ten. The
exception for not adding N for long numbers are Myanga (thousand), Saya (million), and terbum (billion).
Pretty simple and straightforward. For example 912,340 would be, Yus-un zuu-n + arva-n hoyr myanga +
gurva-n zuu-n duchi.
Translated directly to English would be: Nines of hundreds + ten and two of thousand + threes of
hundreds and forty.
To Be & Conjugations
Difference between Chi & Ta: When you want to say “You” to someone, make sure it’s appropriate.
They both mean you, but Chi is used when talking to someone of your own age, Ta is used when talking
to someone who’s older, has higher social status, or if you just want to be polite.
To be: To be is pretty simple. Bol (бол) just means is/are. It doesn’t matter if it’s plural or singular. It stays
the same. There is no feminine or masculine in the Mongolian language so it’s pretty straightforward to
add any verbs.
I am – Be bol (Би бол)
You are – Chi/ta bol (Чи/та бол)
S/He is – Ter bol (Тэр бол)
We are – Bid bol (Бид бол)
They/Them are – Ted bol (Тэд бол)
They are – Ted nar bol (Тэд нар бол)
Conjugations: Present simple is also pretty easy as it always stays the same. Doesn’t matter if it’s
singular or plural. Remember there is no masculine or feminine in the Mongolian language, so Present
Simple verbs are constant. Let’s take the world to go as an example. In Mongolian it’s yavah or явах.
I go – Be yavdag (Би явдаг)
You go – Chi/ta yavdag (Чи/та явдаг)
S/He goes – Ter yavdag (Тэр явдаг)
We go – Bid yavdag (Бид явдаг)
They/Them go – Ted yavdag (Тэд явдаг)
They go – Ted nar yavdag (Тэд нар явдаг)
Introducing yourself: You’ll notice that gedeg (гэдэг) is often used. It just means “is” There are formal
and informal ways of introducing yourself and others to people. Formal is most often used when you are
presenting yourself in a serious manner or when addressing a crowd, informal is used in other occasions.
I am Orgil – Be Orgil (Би Оргил)
You are Orgil – Chi/ta bol Orgil (Чи/та бол Оргил)
S/He is Orgil – Ter bol Orgil (Тэр бол Оргил)
We are Orgil – Bid bol Orgil (Бид бол Оргил)
They are Orgil – Ted bol Orgil (Тэд бол Оргил)
My name is Orgil – Namaig Orgil gedeg (Намайг Оргил гэдэг)
Your name is Orgil – Chamaig/taniig Orgil gedeg (Чамайг/таныг Оргил гэдэг)
His name is Orgil – Teriig Orgil gedeg (Тэднийг Оргил гэдэг)
Our name is Orgil – Bidniig Orgil gedeg (Биднийг Оргил гэдэг)
Their name is Orgil – Tedniig Orgil gedeg (Тэднийг Оргил гэдэг)
Introducing Your Age:
You can say it in two ways. Formal literally means, I have X numbers of age.
Informal literally means I have X age. Formal version can be used in informal situations just fine, but most
often it is used when giving presentations to a crowd of people. Unless you are addressing a crowd, you
should just use the informal version.
I am 24 years old – Be horin durvun nastai (Би хорин дөрвөн настай)
You are 24 years old – Chi/ta horin durvun nastai (Чи/та хорин дөрвөн настай)
S/He is 24 years old – Ter horin durvun nastai (Тэр хорин дөрвөн настай)
We are 24 years old – Bid horin durvun nastai (Бид хорин дөрвөн настай)
They are 24 years old – Ted horin durvun nastai (Тэд хорин дөрвөн настай)
I am 24 – Be horin duruvtei (Би хорин дөрөвтэй)
You are 24 – Chi/ta horin duruvtei (Чи/та хорин дөрөвтэй)
S/He is 24 – Ter horin duruvtei (Тэр хорин дөрөвтэй)
We are 24 – Bid horin duruvtei (Бид хорин дөрөвтэй)
They are 24 – Ted horing duruvtei (Тэд хорин дөрөвтэй)
Asking People’s Names :
When asking someone’s name, it’s best to use the formal version. Informal
way of asking is mostly used when you are confused or somewhat angry.
Who am I? – Bi hen be? (Би хэн бэ?)
Who are you? Chi/ta Hen be? (Чи/та хэн бэ?)
Who is s/he? – Ter hen be? (Тэр хэн бэ?)
Who are we? – Bid hen be? (Бид хэн бэ?)
Who are they? – Ted hen be? (Тэд хэн бэ?)
What is my name? Namaig hen gedeg ve? (Намайг хэн гэдэг вэ?)
What is your name? – Chamaig/taneeg hen gedeg ve? (Чамайг/таныг хэн гэдэг вэ?)
What is his/her name? – Terniig hen gedeg ve? (Тэрнийг хэн гэдэг вэ?)
What is our name? – Bidniig hen gedeg ve? (Биднийг хэн гэдэг вэ?)
What is their names? Tedniig hen gedeg ve? (Тэднийг хэн гэдэг вэ?)
Asking People’s Age: Formal is often used when you are talking to strangers or when you are genuinely
curious about someone’s age. Informal is used to ask someone’s age without making a big deal out of it
in a social setting.
How much age do I have? Bi heden nastai ve? (Би хэдэн настай вэ?)
How much age do you have? Chi/ta heden nastai ve? (Чи/та хэдэн настай вэ?)
How much age does s/he have? Ter heden nastai ve? (Тэр хэдэн настай вэ?)
How much age do we have? Bid heden nastai ve? (Бид хэдэн настай вэ?)
How much age do they have? Ted heden nastai ve? (Тэд нар хэдэн настай вэ?)
How old am I? Bi hedtei ve? (Би хэдтэй вэ?)
How old are you? Chi/ta hedtei ve? (Чи/та хэдтэй вэ?)
How old is s/he? Ter hedtei ve? (Тэр хэдтэй вэ?)
How old are we? Bid hedtei ve? (Бид хэдтэй вэ?)
How old are they? Ted hedtei ve? (Тэд хэдтэй вэ?)
Hi / Hello – Sain baina uu? Сайн байна уу?
What’s up? – Yu baina? Юу байна?
How are you? – Sain uu? Сайн уу?
Goodbye – Bayrtai, baka, bye. Баяртай, бака
How was your day? Sonin hachin? Сонин хачин?
See you tomorrow – Margaash uulzya. Маргааш уулзЪя
Talk to you later – Daraa yariya. Дараа ярЪя
What have you been up to? Yu heeged ill baina da? Юу хийгээд л байна даа?
Where is X / Where can I find X – X haana baidag ve? X хаана байдаг вэ?
Can you help me? – Nadad tuslaach? Надад туслаач?
Go to X – X yavna. Х явна
Does this go to X – Ene X yavdag u? Энэ Х явдаг уу?
Thank you – Bayarlalaa. Баярлалаа
You’re welcome – Zugeeree. Зүгээрээ
I don’t understand – Be oilgodogguie. Би ойлгодүггүй ээ.
Do you speak X ? – Ta X heleer yaridag u? Та Х хэлээр ярьдаг уу?
Where do you live – Chi/ta haana amidardag ve? Чи/та хаана амьдардаг вэ?
What is this? – Ene yu ve? Энэ юу вэ?
How do you say X in Mongolian – X Mongolor yu gedeg ve? Х Монголоор юу гэдэг вэ?
How many are there? – Hed baigaa ve? Хэд байгаа вэ?
How much? – Une hed ve? Үнэ хэд вэ?
Are you okay – Chi/ta zuger u? Чи/та зүгээр үү?
I’m hungry – Bi ulsuj baina. Би өлсөж байна
I’m tired – Bi yadarch baina. Би ядарч байна
I have to go – Be yavah heregtei baina. Би явах хэрэгтэй байна
I love you – Be chamd hairtai. Би чамд хайртай
Bus – Avtobus. Автобус
Train – Bogon. Богоон
Fly – Niseh. Нисэх
Airplane – Ongots. Онгоц
Money – Mungu. Мөнгө
Bag – Tsunh. Цүнх
Horse – Mori. Морь
Food – Ho-ol. Хоол
Dog – Nohoi. Нохой
Cat- Mu-ur. Муур
American – Amerik, Америк
English – Angli, Англи
French – Frants, Франц
Japanese – Yapon, Япон
German – Gherman, Герман
Russian – Oros, Орос
Brazilian – Brazil, Бразил
Spanish – Espani, Испани
Chinese – Hyatad, Хятад
Korean – Solongos, Солонгос